What to do first when starting Tears of the Kingdom (TotK)
Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom‘s powers completely reinvent the way you interact with Hyrule. It took me a few hours to acclimate to them, and even then, I forgot how useful some of Link’s new abilities were. Here’s a quick primer in case you hit a wall early on!
Don’t forget that you have Ascend!
As I was pondering how to order these tips, I had one unanimous thought: remind people that Ascend exists!
Ascend is one of the new abilities that Link will learn during the tutorial segment and allows him to rise up and literally ascend through solid ground. There are a few caveats: the height you want to ascend to needs to be directly under you, and that height has a minimum threshold for you to actually trigger it.
Many puzzles in the game can be solved with Ascend, and if you see a grate above you (or a small circular notch in a ceiling), odds are you’ll need to Ascend upward to continue down the critical path. Remember this tip!
Fuse constantly, even if you don’t think you need it
Fusing is super easy to do and forget through the course of the game. A lot of it is muscle memory for folks who played through Breath of the Wild already, but the Fusion power can be done very quickly when running through a dungeon.
If you’re in an area with tons of waste, empty chests, or ingredients you don’t need, swap to your Fusion power in the ability wheel. Go through all of your weapons and attach them to something. The sturdier the object the better generally, but even small items such as fruits can modify your weapons and add elemental effects or useful bonuses.
Fusion never really hurts anything, so fuse away and make your weapons last longer or do more damage for minimal effort!
Try out the recipe system when cooking
When selecting items to “hold” and cook in a fire, you can also select the “recipe” option in that same item menu.
This is a useful way to instantly queue up items to cook with, or even discover new/returning effects that you forgot. Defense up is one of the more useful effects you can sift through, especially for some of the harder-hitting boss fights. Any effect you need, just look at an ingredient that serves as a key reagent for it, then hit “recipe” and see if you can cook anything on the spot!
You can spam amiibo for cooking ingredients
Although you can only use individual amiibo once per day, there’s no real hard limit on using the entire Zelda line (or other lines) of amiibo in rapid succession.
While amiibo scanning will typically spawn treasure chests, you can also hoard tons of key ingredients, like rare fish or reagents for cooking. Piles of meat will fall from the sky to a copious degree if you scan amiibo, and it can cut down the amount of time required searching for ingredients for boss battle food.
Use sky islands as footholds to restore your stamina
In Tears of the Kingdom, towers will “shoot” you out like a cannon, which allows you to easily survey the sky islands, as well as the vast lands of Hyrule.
Naturally you’ll want to paraglide your way from towers to key areas, but you may not have the stamina needed to float all the way across the map. You can fix that by making “pitstops” at sky islands to recover stamina, then jump off and float again. Rinse and repeat several times to make bigger strides when exploring Hyrule!
The Ultrahand ability is far more useful than you think
Replacing Magnesis, Ultrahand is like a “plussed up” version and is key to many of the new mechanics that Tears of the Kingdom offers. You can build bridges from scratch, as well as simple tools and obstacles that can be used to block enemies or hazards like flamethrower traps.
When you’re in a dungeon and you can’t Ascend up to solve a problem, consider building a rudimentary object (like even a small set of stairs): it could help propel you just enough so you’ll clear a mountainside with the proper amount of stamina.
Launch yourself out of towers often to survey the land and mark up points of interest
One of the key sidequests in Tears of the Kingdom involves finding what are essentially crop circles out in the game world. The best way to actually find these is to shoot yourself out of towers to survey Hyrule. Given that most of the markings are obvious at great heights, you’ll be able to easily press in the right analog stick and “mark” them to explore at a later date. The trick of marking locations with beacons, then going back into the map menu and changing the beacon to an icon still works!
Also, don’t get tripped up when it comes to the Sahasra Slope Skyview Tower!